CE.20.014 – Sustainable development by morally just value chains

Route: Circular economy

Cluster question: 053 What are the features of a circular economy and how can we achieve it?

Addressing global challenges such as climate change urgently requires policy action and social system changes. This is necessary in energy (heating, industry and transport), food production & consumption and water management. Innovations can only contribute to positive transitions if these are socially resilient and cohesive. As most value chains in the energy, water and food nexus are not restricted to local activities but hold global impact, values and principles need to be considered. During this time of urgency that presses for immediate action, politics and society need to navigate territory without proper charts on both the near and more distant future. This warrants new forms of cooperation. Understanding the stakes, impacts, and interests is a precondition to achieve resilient transitions. We aim to provide ethical frameworks to guide the transitions required. We will focus on promising innovations relevant for energy-, water- and food-systems to adapt for climate change. We will deploy ‘worldview mapping’ for stakeholders in the value chains identified. We will identify moral values and ethical principles in the value chains, provide guidelines for public and private policy to create the most resilient society changes, indicating steps for legislation/regulation where needed. We do so by a Design-Build-Test-Learn (DBTL) iterative workflow: we first carry out an inventory of current frameworks and ethical challenges, alignment with existing efforts, and definition of criteria for selection of technologies (D); followed by a scanning of technology horizon, selection and description of technologies and the implementation of principles and processes (B). These are examined and tested through ethical analyses (T). Broad engagement of stakeholders and policy assessment will provide critical input (L) for refinement. This will result in robust operational guidelines and a high-quality, adaptive governance framework for ethically informed technologies with a high socio-economic impact.


cocreation, ethics by design, innovation, resilient technologies, sustainability, value chains

Other organisations

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - School of Philosophy, LISConsult, TUDelft (TUD) - Biotechnology and Society, Wageningen University and Research (WUR) - Systems and Synthetic Biology


Organisation Radboud University (RU)
Name Dr. L. (Laurens) Landeweerd
E-mail l.landeweerd@science.ru.nl
Website https://www.ru.nl/science/isis/